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Warren amp fence nears completion

Three-quarters of venue covered, leaves Mahoning Ave. side open

Staff photo / R. Michael Semple Austin Rutecki, a laborer with Estherlee Fence of North Lima, subcontracting under Dawn Construction Inc., shovels dirt Monday as a fence is installed at the Warren Community Amphitheatre.

WARREN — Work to place new fencing on three sides of the Warren Community Ampitheatre is expected to be completed before the end of the week.

However, the new fencing will not be on the Mahoning Avenue side for now.

Dawn Incorporated, a woman-owned, Warren-based company, won the $209,000 contract for the construction of the fence, according to Warren Community Development Coordinator Michael Keys.

The city is not placing the fence on the Mahoning Avenue side because leaders want it to match the fencing that surrounds Warren’s city hall complex.

Critics of the project initially expressed concern the new fencing would not be historically accurate to fencing that was in the area when the city hall area was the Perkins House.

Jim Valesky said what is being placed on three sides of the amphitheater is appropriate for this type of venue. Valesky added if the city decides to place the same fence around the amphitheater’s curvature along Mahoning Avenue side, that also may be OK.

“I am not against progress,” the former city councilman said. “We should be able to work together.”

However, he does not want this style of fencing or what is in front of City Hall placed next to the sidewalk in front of the Warren amphitheater on Mahoning Avenue. Placing a nonhistorically accurate fencing would block residents from using the grass next to or in front of the Warren Heritage Center, he said..

Keys said the project went to bid two times before the city accepted the $209,602 bid for the project. Bids for the original concept of the fencing came in as high as $500,000, which was significantly higher than its budget.

It was at that point it was decided to do the project in two phases, with this first phase placing fencing around three sides of the amphitheater.

Ken Haidaris, co-founder of Sunrise Entertainment, a concert promotions company that puts on the annual summer River Rock at the Amp concert series, in 2019 asked the city to place permanent fencing around the amphitheater so the city would not have to put up the temporary orange fencing.

“I’m in favor of a permanent fence being placed around the amphitheater,” Haidaris said. “The snow fence that has periodically been placed around it looked tacky.”

Sunrise Entertainment periodically would put its own temporary fence around the amphitheater for its programs.

“I think having a permanent fence would encourage more promoters to bring shows to the amphitheater,” he said.

“Sunrise Entertainment averages between 12 to 14 shows per year at the amphitheater,” Haidaris said. “I know other organizations, such as the African American Achievers Association’s annual festival, also has shows at the amphitheater. Hopefully, we will get more activity at the amphitheater.”

Haidaris is pleased the city is looking at placing restrooms closer to the amphitheater. He said he would like the city to consider widening the road to its rear to make it easier for vendors to set up shows and food trucks.

“Overall, I think the city has done a good job at maintaining the amphitheater,” Haidaris said.

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